Betting the NFL Draft: Five favorite prop picks

May 7, 2014 |
Betting the NFL Draft: Five favorite prop picks
NFL bettors can scratch their football itch with plenty of props on this week's NFL Draft in NYC.
Photo By - USA Today Images
NFL bettors can scratch their football itch with plenty of props on this week's NFL Draft in NYC.
Photo By - USA Today Images
Here’s the thing you need to know about the NFL draft: The best and most accurate information surfaces sometime between Wednesday evening and Thursday afternoon. 

This is the time frame in which the teams at the top of the draft (like Houston) become willing to announce their true intentions in order to entice any last-second trade offers. 

As a result, those bettors willing to stay on top of both the NFL news cycle and their wagering outlets will be given the opportunity to beat the sports books to the punch.

Translation: The early bird gets the worm when it comes to the best draft prop prices.

At the current moment, we've identified five NFL prop bets that offer a great price as well as a high probability of success:

Which of the following players will be drafted first?:

Marqise Lee, WR, USC: +175
Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana: +265
Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State: +105

Pick: Brandin Cooks, +105

Cooks is the only receiver on this ticket guaranteed to hear his name called during the first round on Thursday night, as NFL personnel men love his skill set, work ethic and character. There’s a good chance Latimer falls to the second round and even if he doesn’t, he shouldn’t go higher than the mid-20s. 

That leaves Lee, a talented prospect out of Southern California who ranks behind Cooks on virtually every big board out there. Further strengthening our position, Cooks has been the subject of trade rumors, as a team like Philadelphia or Kansas City may come flying up the board in order to acquire his services.

Which player will be drafted first?:

Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M: -135
Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan: +105

Pick: Jake Matthews, -135

Two highly-coveted left tackle prospects, who can anchor down at one of the most integral positions in the league, this line offers tremendous value at the moment.  Matthews is the higher-ranked and safer pick, while Lewan is generally regarded as the third-best tackle prospect in this year’s draft. 

Once Auburn LT Greg Robinson flies off the board, the stage will be set for Matthews to find his professional landing spot, which could happen as high as Jacksonville at No. 3.  Lewan has a good shot to hear his name called in the Top 10, but Matthews is a lock in that regard.

Which player will be drafted first?:

Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo: -140
Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson: Even

Pick: Sammy Watkins, Even

With two of the most highly-coveted prospects in this year’s draft class, a more accurate line would be -115 both ways.  However, if a book were to install a favorite here, it should be Watkins instead of Mack.  The Clemson wideout has garnered rave reviews and is in play for St. Louis at No. 2, Jacksonville at No. 3, Cleveland at No. 4 and Oakland at No. 5. And that doesn’t even account for the fact that several teams are interested in trading up into the Top 5 for a chance to land Watkins. 

Mack is the favorite here because some believe he could go first overall to Houston. I’m not buying that.  But if you are, you’d be better served playing Over 1.5 (+285) on Jadeveon Clowney’s draft position.

Over/Under draft position of 5.5 for Johnny Manziel

Over: +125
Under: -165

Pick: Over, +125

FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer reported Tuesday evening that both Cleveland (No. 4) and Oakland (No. 5) would not be drafting Manziel at their current positions.  And for those of you who don’t know Glazer, all you need to understand is that his word is gold. 

So, with the Browns and Raiders out of the picture, that leaves Houston at No. 1 - which will likely select Clowney - St. Louis at No. 2 - which is after either Robinson or Watkins -and Jacksonville at No. 3 - which SI’s Peter King says wants to play it safe.  There’s your Over.

Will Teddy Bridgewater be drafted during the first round?

YES: +200
NO: -260

Pick: YES, +200

In 2013, we spent four months hearing about the meteoric rises of quarterbacks Ryan Nassib and Geno Smith, both of whom failed to hear their names called during the first round. This year, we’ve heard nothing but negatives regarding Bridgewater and how he’s supposed to plummet out of the first round.  I think we’ve got a classic smokescreen on our hands here and at a price of +200, I’m more than willing to roll the dice.

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